Profiles: Christopher Nolan

Born: 30 July, 1970 (Westminster, London, England)
Height: 180cm (5″11)
Nationality: english-american
Known For: Memento (2000), insomnia (2002), batman begins (2005), the prestige (2006), the dark knight (2008), inception (2010), the dark knight rises (2012), interstellar (2014)
upcoming films: Dunkirk (2017)


Early Life

Nolan with Morgan Freeman & Christian Bale On The Set Of The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Nolan was born in london in 1970. his english father was an advertising executive, and his american mother, worked as a flight attendant and an english teacher. his childhood was split between London, and evanston, illinois, and he was both a british and american citizen. he was the middle child of three. from the age of seven he began making films with his dads super 8 camera and shooting short films with his action figures. growing up, nolan was particularly influenced by star wars (1977), and by the age of eight he made a stop motion animation called space wars. his uncle work at nasa, building guidance systems for the apollo rockets, and was fascinated by his work. by the age of eleven, he aspired to be a professional filmmaker.
When nolAN’s family relocated to chicago in his teenage years, he started making films with adrian and roko belic. he has continued his collaboration with the brothers, receiving credit for his editorial assistance on their oscar-nominated documentary genghis blues (1999). Nolan was educated at Imperial service college, an independent school in hertford heath, hertfordshire, and later read english literature at university college london (ucl). He chose ucl for it’s filmmaking facilities.


Breakthrough (1998-2002)

in 1998 nolan directed his first feature flim, which he personally funded and filmed with his friends. following depicts an unemployed young writer who trails through london, hoping they will provide material for his first novel, but is drawn into a criminal underworld. the film was inspired by BY Nolans experience of living in london and having his flat burgled. Following was made on a tiny budget of £3,000. the film was received well by critics; the new yorker wrote, “it echoes hitchcock films but is meaner and leaner.” As a result of Followings success, Nolan was afforded the opportunity to make his breakthrough hit memento (2000). During a road trip from chicago to los angeles, his brother jonathan pitched an idea for “memento mori”, about a man with amnesia who uses notes and tattoos to hunt for his wife’s murderer. nolan developed a screenplay that told the story in reverse. the film was optioned and given a $4.5m budget, a massive jump for nolan from following to memento. it starred guy pearce and carrie-anne moss, and premiered at the venice international film festival in september 2000 to critical acclaim. Joe morgenstorm of the wall street journal wrote, “i can’t remember when a movie seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the same time.” the film was a box office success, making $40M, and received a number of awards, including academy award and golden globe nominations for best original screenplay. memento was considered one of the best flims of 2000.
Christopher Nolan on the set of The Dark Knight (2008)
impressed by his work on memento, steven soderbergh recruited nolan to direct the thriller insomnia (2002). iT STARRED ACADEMY AWARDS WINNERS LIKE AL PACINO, ROBIN WILLIAMS AND HILARY SWANK. Warner Bros. initially wanted a more seasoned director, but soderbergh fought for nolan. eventually nolan and soderbergh won the battle, and the film was given a major $46M budget. Insomnia is about two Los Angeles detectives sent to a northern Alaskan town to investigate the methodical murder of a local teenager. It received positive reviews from critics and performed well at the box office, earning $113 million worldwide.


Transition To The Big Time (2003-2007)

After insomnia, nolan planned a howard hughes biopic starring jim carrey. he penned the screenplay, saying, “it was the best screenplay i’ve ever written.” however, he learned that martin scorsese was making a howard hughes film (the aviator) so reluctantly he tabled the screenplay. having turned down an offer to direct troY (2004), nolan worked on adapting ruth rendells’ crime novel the keys to the street into a screenplay which he planned to direct for fox, but eventually left the project siting similarities to his previous films.
in early 2003, nolan approached warner bros. with an idea to make a new batman film. fascinated by the character and the story, he wanted to make the film grounded into a more “relatable” world more reminiscent of a classical drama than a comic-book fantasy. Batman begins, the biggest project nolan had worked on yet, premiered in june 2005 to critical acclaim and commercial success. the film starred christian bale as the title role, along with sir michael caine, gary oldman, morgan freeman and liam neeson. the film revived the franchise, heralding a trend towards darker films which retold backstories. essentially it was a origin story of batman/bruce wayne and his journey to become the batman. the film was the beginning of the beginning for nolan with Batman begins having a budget of $150m.
Christopher Nolan on the set of Interstellar (2014)
before returning to his batman franchise, nolan directed and produced the prestige (2006), an adaption of christopher priest’s novel about the rivalry of two 19th century magicians. nolan initially intended to make the film as early as 2003, but postponed the film due to batman begins. starring hugh jackman and christian bale, the prestige received critical acclaim (including two oscar nominations), and earned $110M in the box office.


In july 2006 nolan announced that the sequel to Batman begins will be called the dark knight. Approaching the sequel, Nolan wanted to expand on the noirish quality of the first film by broadening the canvas and taking on “the dynamic of a story of the city, a large crime story … where you’re looking at the police, the justice system, the vigilante, the poor people, the rich people, the criminals.” It was releaSED IN 2008 TO YET AGAIN CRITICAL ACCLAIM AND STILL TODAY IS KNOWN AS ONE OF THE BEST SUPERHERO FILMS OF ALL TIME. THE FILM WAS ALSO’S noLAN BIGGEST BOX OFFICE SUCCESS YET, MAKING $534M in the north american market and worldwide it made over $1BN. The film was also nominated for eight academy awards, winning four.
After The Dark Knight‘s success, wARNER bROS. SIGNED NOLAN TO DIRECT INCEPTION. NOLAN ALSO CO-PRODUCED AND WROTE INCEPTION, DESCRIBING IT AS “A CONTEMPORARY SCI-FI ACTIONER SET WITHIN THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE MIND.” Before being released into threatres, many critics pondered whether nolan’s faith in the intelligence of moviegoers would cost him at the box office. the films however starred leonardo dicaprio, marion cotillard, joesph gordon-levitt, ellen page, tom hardy, cillian murphy and sir michael caine. the film also had a high price tag of $160M for a budget and reports of it being $230M after p&a’s. the film was released in the summer of 2010, and was treated with commercial success with some people saying this was nolan’s best film yet. the film made $820M worldwide and was voted by empire in june 2017 and the 16th best film of all time. the film was nominated for eight academy awards including best picture, best original screenplay and best original score.
Christian Bale (Left), Tom Hardy (Middle), and Christopher Nolan (Right) On the set of The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
in 2012, nolan directed his third and final batman film, the dark knight rises. although he was initially hesitant to return to the franchise, he and his brother developed the screenplay for the film and the it was green-lit. it was released in 2012 and many critics said that the dark knight rises is arguably the darkest and most thrilling film of the franchise. the film made $1.1Bn in the box office and is nolan’s higest grossing film to date.



DURING DISCUSSIONS ON THE SET OF THE dark knight rises in 2010, david s. goyer pitched his idea to present superman in modern context. impressed with goyer’s concept, nolan pitched the idea of man of steel (2013) to warner brothers, who hired nolan to produce and goyer to write. zack snyder would direct the film. in january 2013, nolan announced he would direct a sci-fi thriller entitled interstellar. the first drafts of the script was writen by jonathan nolan, and originally steven spielberg was going to direct. based on the scientific theories of renowned theoretical physicist kip thorne, the film depicts a heroic interstellar voyage to the furthest borders of our scientific knowledge. Interstellar starred matthew mcconaughey, anne hathaway, jessica chastain and sir michael caine. it was released in november 2014 to positive reviews and strong box office results, with the film grossing $670M worldwide.

Dunkirk (2017)

in december 2015, it was announced that nolan would direct a film called Dunkirk, based on his own original screenplay. the story is set amid World War II and tells the story of the allied evacuation of dunkirk beach in northern france in 1940, also titled operation dynamo. the films stars fionn whitehead, jack lowden, mark rylance, tom hardy, harry styles,cillian murphy and kenneth branagh. the film is set to be released in july 2017 and is currently a possibility of nolan being nominated for a oscar for directing.




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